Ultra 106 five: Weekend Wondering - Work Christmas Parties - Michelle Gibbings

Thanks to Dave and Ultra 106 five for chatting to Michelle about work Christmas parties and how not to leave your reputation behind. 

Weekend Wondering - work Christmas Parties

With December is upon us, many of us are counting down to the annual work Christmas party. After a bumpy year, it’s an opportunity to re-connect with colleagues, say farewell to 2021 and recognise achievements. Just remember not to get too over-excited and leave your reputation behind at the party.

Melbourne workplace expert and author, Michelle Gibbings joins Dave on weekend wondering and explains we’ve all seen or heard stories of colleagues who lived to regret their behaviour and Michelle says that if you don’t want that to be you, follow these 10 tips:

Remember – it’s still work

Even though the calendar invitation might include the word ‘party’, don’t forget it is still work.  This rule applies regardless of the function’s location – for example, the office or an external venue. Your organisation’s code of conduct and workplace laws apply, and if you overstep the mark, there won’t only be consequences for your reputation and job, you could face legal issues.

Don’t overdo it

Too loud. Too boisterous. Too much drinking. The list could go on. While it’s a party and a time to celebrate, you want to know your limits, so you don’t wake up fearing the answer to the question ‘What did I do last night?‘.

Be professional

You can have fun and be professional at the same time. There are a few simple rules of etiquette. Turn up on time. Dress appropriately. Ignore any peer pressure, and avoid being sucked in to do things that make you (or someone else) feel uncomfortable.  Make the time to thank the organisers for their efforts.

Mingle broadly

It’s natural to want to hang out with your friends at the event.  However, when you do this, you miss the opportunity to meet new people and extend your network. The event is a great chance to bond and get to know people in a more relaxed environment. So, make an effort to talk to people across the team and organisation.

Be inclusive, not exclusive

If new people to the organisation find it hard to meet people, then take the time to make them feel welcome and introduce them to your colleagues.  For people who joined during the year, this might be the first time they’ve met people face to face, and it can be daunting to walk into an unknown crowd.

Have boundaries

If your Christmas party allows you to bring your partner, talk with them about the event in advance.  You will need to socialise with colleagues, and you want them to feel comfortable too.  As well, any overt PDA’s are never a good look.

Don’t gossip

You want to keep the conversation casual and fun. Avoid conversations that could offend, and be careful about moaning about your job, boss or team-mates.  You may not remember who you have spoken with, but the person you have shared with is likely to remember everything you have said, and your words may come back to haunt you.

Ditch the phone

If you spend much of the event on your phone, you miss interacting with your colleagues.  Also, it can come across as rude because your colleagues may interpret your behaviour as a disinterest in them and the team. Be respectful about taking photos and what you share on social media.  Not everyone wants to have their picture plastered on Facebook or Instagram, so make sure you ask before you act.

Look after your colleagues

You want everyone to have fun and get home safely. So, if you see a colleague who has perhaps overdone it, don’t judge.  Instead, find an appropriate way to help. It might be ensuring they get safely into a taxi or finding one of their trusted friends to take them home.

Know when to leave & how

You never want to be the first to leave or the last to go, so plan your exit wisely.  As well, avoid the sneaky exit.  You want to say goodbye to your boss (or host). Before the event, work out how you will get home – quickly and safely. There’s nothing worse than a long queue for a taxi or rideshare at the end of the night.


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